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The number of people who choose the vegetarian lifestyle is increasing each year. Some are motivated to change their eating habits after watching a PETA promo or seeing an animal farm where the animals are kept for food, while some believe that giving up meat will help them improve their overall health. Whether someone goes vegetarian for religious, moral or health reasons, there are some things to keep in mind when avoiding food of animal origin.

What is vegetarianism

Vegetarians do not eat meat and that is the basis of this lifestyle. Meat includes poultry as well, contrary to what some people believe. Most vegetarians do not eat fish or seafood either, for the simple reason that fish are animals too.

Some vegetarians eat eggs and dairy products, and they are called ovo-lacto vegetarians. Ovo vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy, while lacto vegetarians, as the name suggests, eat dairy products, and avoid eggs.

Vegans do not eat anything that came from an animal, even including honey.

Vegetarian health tips

Since they may lack some of the nutrients found exclusively in meat and fish, vegetarians need to find out how to replace those nutrients and stay healthy.

Dark green vegetables are very important for vegetarians as they are a good source of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. It is always best to use fresh vegetables, and most of them are easily cultivated in gardens.

Water is essential for human health and most experts recommend drinking six or more glasses of plain water a day. Herbal teas are also a good option.

Sugar, especially refined, is best if avoided. Too much sugar increases the activity of adrenal glands, which may result in increased heart rate and anxiety. Sugar is also bad for immune system.

When preparing vegetables, it is best to cook them as little as possible. Heat destroys many important nutrients found in vegetables so stir-frying or simply eating them raw as a salad is always the best option. It is recommended to avoid peeling the vegetables, as well as fruits, because the peel contains fiber and other important elements. This, of course, goes only for vegetables and fruit with edible peel.

Fruit and fruit juices are essential for vegetarians. In addition to vitamins and minerals, frit contains phytochemicals that have anti-oxidant properties and protect the body from aging and disease.

Most people get their protein through meat or eggs, but for vegetarians this is not an option and they have to look elsewhere to satisfy the body’s demand for protein. Nuts, beans, seeds and nut putters are excellent sources of protein. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds and other nuts are also important source of fatty acids.

Soy is one of the most important foods for vegetarians. Soy products are rich in zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium and in omega-3 fatty acid as well as B vitamins. Soy is one of the most significant sources of protein for the vegetarians.

One thing vegetarians, especially vegans, should consider taking in the form of supplements is vitamin B12. This vitamin is important for normal brain function and it is lacking in most vegetarian diets.

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